Council leader Aileen Morton and the busy harbour at Oban. Picture by Bill Heaney
By Stef Lach
Proposals for a new Scottish Marine Industry Training Centre in Oban have been boosted by an investment of £105,000 from Argyll and Bute Council.
Should proposals for the £7million project come to fruition, the Scottish Marine Industry Training Centre would be a world-class marine and maritime facility – Scotland’s hub for vocational training and academic study of this growing field – while also supporting the industry through continuing professional development and mandatory training courses.
Additionally, it would support the Council’s drive for the Argyll and Bute Rural Growth Deal by giving local young people more FE choices and bringing new students to the University Town of Oban.
Councillors on the Policy & Resources Committee has agreed to release £105,040 over a two-year period to July 2021 from the Council’s Inward Investment Fund to enable Argyll College UHI to develop a comprehensive curriculum plan and business case for the new Training Centre.
Councillor Aileen Morton, Policy Lead for Economic Development, said: “As part of our aim to boost the population of Argyll and Bute, there is a need to expand further and higher education opportunities, both to retain students from the area and attract others from further afield.
“The creation of the Scottish Marine Industry Training Centre is key to the development of Oban as a University Town and we are pleased to support Argyll College UHI on this important project.”
Proposals for the development of the Training Centre in Oban come as a result of clear demand from the industry and both regional and national studies highlighting the need for skills in this field. Interest has already been expressed by industry groups in using the proposed facilities.
The creation of the Training Centre is key to the ‘Oban: A University Town’ project’s aims of having 80 full-time and 440 part-time students based in the town within six years of the Training Centre being launched.
As some of the students would remain in the area after graduation, it is anticipated that this would contribute to reversing the population decline in Argyll and Bute.